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CIB Denies Funding Request for Proposed Public Safety Facility

Sun Advocate reporter

During the East Carbon council meeting on Dec. 12, Mayor Orlando LaFontaine reported that the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board had denied funding for a proposed public safety facility.

The CIB refused to allocate monies for the proposed East Carbon-Sunnyside public safety project during the state board's Dec. 7 funding meeting.

The cities had been placed on the priority list for CIB funding for a $1.5 million building that would house the town's fire departments along with the Sunnyside ambulance service in a separate bay.

The East Carbon and Sunnyside mayors were told in no uncertain terms by the CIB in a preliminary meeting that neither city would receive funding for public safety buildings unless the towns combined the departments.

Combining the cities departments would allow the CIB to fund one building and provide a joint public safety facility for the neighboring towns.

A special interlocal meeting was conducted in East Carbon on Oct. 16 to discuss combining the fire departments into one unit that would serve both municipalities.

During the October meeting, East Carbon and Sunnyside officials agreed that the cities would merge the two departments.

The officials indicated that an interlocal agreement would be drafted and ratified by the East Carbon and Sunnyside city councils.

The towns planned to request funding to construct a joint public safety building on county donated property located on the north side of U.S. Highway 123 in Sunnyside.

However, East Carbon and Sunnyside could not ratify an agreement that would combine the departments.

Instead, the officials of the two cities reportedly chose to seek funding for a building that would house the departments separately.

"No physical evidence of any interlocal agreement was available to the board members at the CIB's funding meeting," said Price Mayor Joe Piccolo during an interview Wednesday.

Piccolo services on the CIB board. Because the board could not discern the particulars and logistics of the cities' proposal, the members could not fund the grant at the present time.

"It is important to understand the full gravity of this," said Piccolo "These cities were looking at obtaining 100 percent funding with no matching portion on a 1.5 million dollar grant."

While funding for the joint public safety facility has not been shot down completely, the proposal has been placed on the CIB board's pending list.

Inclusion on the list means that East Carbon and Sunnyside could still receive funding at the board's next meeting in April if the officials can work through the cities differences.

But resolving the differences may take work.

According to LaFontaine, Sunnyside officials refused to give the East Carbon mayor access to the architect that had drafted the plans for the building.

"They simply would not give me the number," explained LaFontaine at the Dec. 12 council meeting.

The situation also concerned other East Carbon officials and residents in atteandance at the meeting.

"If we can't cooperate, then this is all a waste of time and I don't have time to waste. Unless this architect can meet with both cities to discuss this building, then there is no point in meeting at all," pointed out Councilmember Joyce Caviness.

East Carbon resident Jim Robertson was concerned about the lack of cooperation between the cities and the financial loss that matter seems to be causing.

"I have talked with these officials and you are not going to get one thin dime from the CIB or anyone else if you can't fully combine these departments," commented Robertson.

According to Sunnyside fire chief Gene Madrid, the firemen get along great and would like to see the joint project happen.

"The guys show up to the same fires anyway and they work good together, we need to put the politics aside and do what is best for our cities," stated Madrid.

The sentiment was echoed by officials and residents in attendance at the East Carbon City Council meeting on Tuesday.

"We have a combined ambulance and police department, why can't we get this done for the fire departments. Our ambulance service goes on 120 a year and when we are paged out we don't ask for a specific fire department, we ask for the fire department because we are serving our community," noted Barbara Robinett.

Robinett is an East Carbon resident and Sunnyside paramedic.

By meeting's end, the councilmembers had decided to meet with Sunnyside city again to try and hammer out another agreement. "We need to commit to put our differences aside for our community's interest," concluded Robinett.

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